I had no chips, no dips, no nachos, no hot wings. I drank water -- out of the tap. I did get a slice of frozen pepperoni pizza around the middle of the third quarter. I hate pepperoni pizza. I missed Kelly Clarkson singing the National Anthem. I somehow missed the commercial of the little boy peeing in the pool. The closest I came to getting a high five when Eli's team won the game was a text from my son Jackson.
It was like almost like missing Christmas.
OK. Full disclaimer. I am not a huge NFL fan. I exerted so much energy on college football Saturdays that there isn't enough of me left to care which group of millionaires beats which other group of millionaires on Sunday afternoon. I watch the Falcons from time to time. I take comfort in the fact that the more things change the more they remain the same. I can always count on the Falcons to fold down the stretch.
I will watch Archie and Olivia Manning's sons play sometime. They are good and well grounded and decent people, so I enjoy watching them succeed.
But the Super Bowl is different. The Super Bowl supersedes the game itself. It is an event, a happening, a chance to throw a party. The Super Bowl is what everyone is talking about the week after the game. So I enjoy "doing the Super Bowl thing."
I invite friends over and we have a ton of food and we make a long list of prop bets -- like the over-under on the length of the National Anthem. (1:35 this year-- one second over.)
We usually debate the relative merits of the commercials and always have a TV in a separate room from the big-screen for the folks who would rather chat than watch the game.
All of that is what usually happens. Not this year. This year I had the saddest Super Bowl, ever.
Cue the violins, please -- and hand out the crying towels.
I didn't plan a party this year because I had something to do Sunday afternoon and wasn't going to be home to help my lovely wife, Lisa, prepare for guests. I had the great privilege of speaking to the GAEL Winter Conference at the Classic Center, in Athens. GAEL is the Georgia Association of Education Leaders, so I was in pretty high cotton. They were a receptive bunch and laughed at the appropriate places and clapped for an appropriate length of time when I finished and nobody got up and walked out.
Dr. Sam King was on the second row and I still had a job Monday, so I must have done OK. I wasn't long winded at all. I finished on schedule and should have been home in plenty of time for kickoff.
Just north of I-20, however, during my return to Conyers, things went south. Who would expect a traffic jam at 6:20 on a Sunday evening? By the time I got across the bridge, Kelly had sung, the Patriots had deferred and the Giants had failed to score. By the time I turned onto Ebenezer Road the Giants had punted the ball inside the Patriots 5-yard line. As I drove into my garage the referees had called a rare grounding penalty against Tom Brady, resulting in a safety for the first two points of the game. Bet not many people saw that coming, although I did read that one guy won $50,000 in Vegas because of it, so maybe at least one did.
I was still OK until I walked into the house. All the way home from Athens I had been thinking about a nice relaxing evening in front of the television -- just me and Lisa and the chips and dip and chicken wings, enjoying the game, laughing at the commercials -- a low-key All-American evening -- just like old married folk.
Alas, the house was empty -- and cold. Lisa had opted for church, and had placed the thermostat on energy-saver before she left. Bummer. But I was still OK. I knew that she might go to church. I would build a fire, watch the first half alone and enjoy the snacks. Then she would be there for the half-time extravaganza and the final 30 minutes of football. Budweiser always saves the best commercial for the second half anyway.
The cold lonely house wasn't the final straw. The empty cupboard was -- not to mention the empty refrigerator. I had been certain that while I was regaling the state's educators with hilarious anecdotes that would change the direction of education in our state, Lisa had been out gathering all my favorite snacks, the ones that I reserve exclusively for Super Sunday.
I was wrong. There wasn't as much as a boiled peanut available.
When she finally got home she went in the bathroom, smeared cold-cream on her face and read her Kindle. When Eli Manning lofted the big silver football over his head, she was sawing logs.
And the frozen pizza she threw in the oven when she got home from church tasted like cardboard.
I will be done pouting in a day or two. But just wait 'til next year. I'm throwing the biggest Super Bowl party ever. Everybody is invited. Bring your favorite snacks, but not the wings. I will pick those up myself next year. They tell me Hooters has great ones!
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.